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“It’s going to be a fantastic game for football” – Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti is delighted with the Champions League final against Liverpool

Real Madrid put on an amazing late comeback on Wednesday to secure a place in the Champions League final at the expense of Manchester City.

Substitute Rodrygo scored twice in the closing minutes of a tense semi-final second leg at the Bernabeu before Karim Benzema’s extra-time penalty decided a 6-5 aggregate draw that will long be remembered.

Riyad Mahrez had put City on course for a final date with rivals Liverpool in Paris later that month when he broke the deadlock in the 73rd minute to put the England side 5-3 ahead on aggregate.

However, just as they failed to capitalize on their advantage in the classic first clash at the Etihad Stadium last week, Pep Guardiola’s side once again failed to stay in defense and lost 3-1 on the evening.

Conclude

Real Madrid’s Rodrygo, left, scores his team’s second goal during the Champions League semi-final, second leg win against Manchester City at Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid

Victorious Real boss Carlo Ancelotti said the club’s rich history in competition helped him stay alive against all odds.

He told BT Sport: “I can’t say we’re used to living that kind of life but it also happened tonight what happened against Chelsea, what happened against Madrid.

“It’s really hard to say why. It’s the great history of this club that helps us carry on even when things seemed gone.

“The game was almost over. We could find the last energy we had. We played well against a really strong opponent and then when we were able to equalize the game, we were obviously better psychologically in extra time.”

Asked about a delicious final showdown with Liverpool, Ancelotti added: “I think it’s going to be a fantastic game for football.”

After making rousing comebacks against Paris St. Germain and Chelsea in the last two rounds, Real fought back with the first two shots on target to level the tie.

As City faltered, they were caught again when Ruben Dias was found to have felled Benzema and the prolific Frenchman finished on the spot.

Conclude

Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema celebrates his third goal during Champions League semifinal second leg match against Manchester City at Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid

City managed to regroup but Thibaut Courtois made a beautiful save to deny Phil Foden and Fernandinho set the rebound painfully wide.

The result was another devastating Champions League blow for Guardiola and prolonged City’s long wait for European glory.

They weren’t at their best in a wild Bernabeu atmosphere but seemed to have done enough to see through the job.

They were bolstered by the return of the fit Kyle Walker and the right-back did a good job restricting the dangerous Vinicius Junior.

However, Real had to up the tempo and came close after just four minutes when Benzema headed over from Dani Carvajal’s cross.

The tension was evident and tempers soon flared as Aymeric Laporte and Luka Modric were both cautioned for clashing during a stoppage.

Benzema and Vinicius then both overshot when Real threatened again.

City grew into the game and created some openings of their own as Kevin De Bruyne tested Courtois from distance. Silva came even closer as he raced on a clever De Bruyne pass, but Courtois saved again, as he did from Foden shortly after, before Gabriel Jesus shot wide.

City had a deadline in the opening seconds of the second period when Carvajal whipped a low ball over the goal but Vinicius fired wide of the far post.

There was another moment of concern as Vinicius meandered into the area, but Modric’s shot was blocked and City went free.

Walker’s struggle with Vinicius finally took its toll when he was substituted midway through the second half and Guardiola also replaced De Bruyne with Ilkay Gundogan.

City looked to have weathered the storm and they held the tie tight as Mahrez broke the deadlock.

The goal fell after the outstanding Silva tore through the Real rear guard with a stormy run. He found Mahrez right in the penalty area and the Algerian skilfully and clinically circled a shot into the top corner.

A second final was on the cards for City in two years but, as in the first leg, they let Real back into the game.

As they’ve shown throughout the competition, the Spaniards never know when they’re beaten and they set up a frantic finish as Rodrygo spun a Benzema flick from close range.

The Bernabeu rocked and further drama ensued as Rodrygo remarkably equalized the tie by heading in from a Marco Asensio cross in added time.

City were shocked as the game went into extra time and they were stunned again when Dias brought down Benzema and the Frenchman advanced to score from the point.

City almost responded when Courtois brilliantly saved Foden’s header. The ball fell to Fernandinho but he missed the goal and Real went into the second extra time, securing their 16th place in the European Cup finals.

https://www.independent.ie/sport/soccer/champions-league/it-will-be-a-fantastic-game-for-football-real-madrid-boss-carlo-ancelotti-relishing-champions-league-final-against-liverpool-41615623.html “It’s going to be a fantastic game for football” – Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti is delighted with the Champions League final against Liverpool

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